Pupils to be taught Scots language in bid to improve attainment

The school has partnered with Aberdeen University on the project
The school has partnered with Aberdeen University on the project
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Pupils will be taught Scots to see if it can help improve attainment.

Children at Banff Academy in Aberdeenshire have teamed up with the University of Aberdeen for the study.

It will examine whether working towards the Scots Language Award - which covers the history and development of the language - has a good impact on learning.

Claire Needler, co-leader of the project, said: “I am particularly interested in how speaking Scots can contribute to a sense of place, belonging and community.

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“More than 50% of people in Aberdeenshire identify as Scots or Doric speakers, with even higher numbers in our northern coastal communities.

“Working in partnership with pupils from Banff Academy has shown me that Scots is very much a living language that is used every day.”

She added those who speak Scots as well as English are bilingual, although they may not realise it.

The pupils will complete the course as normal but will provide feedback to allow academics to evaluate its impact across a broader spectrum.

Many of those involved in the research speak Doric - a form of Scots in the north-east.

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Jamie Fairbairn, who is also co-leading the work, claimed being able to use the language has had a “transformative” impact on pupils’ attainment.

Dr Fairbairn said: “Many of our students come from Doric-speaking families and have grown up using the Scots language, however, many have never had an opportunity to write in it or to use it in a more academic way.

“For some, it has had a quite transformative effect.

“They can see that this is a subject in which they can really shine and, particularly for those who may have struggled in some other areas, it can boost their self-esteem which in turn has an impact on their wider achievement in school.

“Doric is a wonderfully expressive dialect in which to write and the pupils have really engaged with it.”